- This is no time to conduct a post-mortem as to what contributed to the exponential rise in the confirmed infection cases on the backdrop of the second covid wave ominously ravaging the country’s landscape so mercilessly. However, what is obvious to the discerning eyes cannot be discarded either as the country’s infection cases consistently breach the six-figure mark along with thousands of deaths. Come to think of it, the scientists and experts from the medical field were vociferous in advocating that any social gathering is a sure shot recipe for disaster inviting big trouble as the virulent virus gains unhindered access to spread frighteningly.
PC: Danielle Masterson
- A slew of elections, right from assembly to bye-elections to panchayat polls in many of the states prima-facie appears to have contributed to the surge being witnessed in the last few weeks. Leading states reeling under the impact of the virus-like Maharashtra, Kerala, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal had one or the other form of polling conducted during the last few months. As the election rallies invariably attract teeming thousands of people thronging to hear their political masters, time-tested safety and health protocols put in place like social distancing, wearing of personal masks, and sanitization measures conveniently get ignored.
- Therefore, the Election Commission of India which is drawing lots of flak from the judiciary including the Supreme Court and several High Courts, cannot absolve its responsibilities in failing to ensure all stringent covid appropriate protocols were put in place and most importantly, observed to the fullest possible extent. Disturbing reports emerging from a few of the badly infected states mentioning hundreds of poll officials succumbing to the virus is simply unacceptable. Even before the second wave struck India, the decision of the EC to conduct a long winding eight-stage election to the West Bengal assembly defied logic. What could have been achieved in three or four stages maximum was unduly stretched, you see.
PC: Navdeep Singh
- Another important aspect that could have been addressed by the commission was to restrict the electioneering by disallowing large gatherings with stringent restrictions ensuring a smaller assembly of people. Lakhs and lakhs of teeming humanity gathered during election rallies was unbelievable and hence something had to give in which we all are unfortunately witnessing with debilitating effects. When millions of ordinary people like us have learned to work from home despite facing tremendous challenges to adapt to the changed equations, what stops the EC from reengineering the way elections are conducted owing to the pandemic-induced challenges? There is a definite cause for the EC to come out with novel strategies henceforth.
- Of course, the EC is constitutionally mandated to conduct true and fair elections and the time is ripe for inventing suitable modalities keeping in mind the health emergency on the ground viz. encouraging virtual rallies, restrictions on gatherings, curtailing victory celebrations, and short campaigning windows are some such workable solutions. Agreed, the EC cannot be held responsible for every single violation happening but there is no denying the fact that the agency could improvise and reinvent on the lines of other fields. Hopefully, the EC will introspect honestly after the chastising from the judiciary and the public, alike.